Business groups are lining up against a measure that would legalize marijuana in California.
The California Chamber of Commerce says Proposition 19 would lead to more workplace injuries by forcing employers to let workers smoke pot on the job.
A five-page legal analysis released by the CalChamber (PDF) also claims an employer’s hands would be tied to take any action based on the perception that an employee’s marijuana use is a potential threat in the workplace.
Employers would have to show that pot use actually impairs job performance, according to the analysis.
The CalChamber gives this example: If a forklift driver showed up smelling of pot smoke, an employer could not take disciplinary action until it could be shown that the employee’s job performance was “actually impaired” by the marijuana use.
Proposition proponents say that’s not the case. They cite a determination by the state Legislative Analyst’s Office that employers would “retain existing rights to address consumption of marijuana that impairs an employee’s job performance.”
David Rosenfeld, a union lawyer with ties to the Proposition 19 campaign, told The Los Angeles Times that employers are upset because they wouldn’t be able to simply fire employees who test positive for pot, which can stay in the body for days. Instead, they’d have to show that their work was impaired. “There are lots of people out there who use marijuana responsibly and it doesn’t impact their work,” Rosenfeld said.
In addition to the CalChamber, the Association of California School Administrators and the League of California Cities have opposed the measure for similar reasons.
Proposition 19 would make it legal for adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of pot for personal use. Polls show slightly more than 50% of those asked support the measure to approve Proposition 19.
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